Bullying at Lee’s Summit school prompts investigation, parents call for action

News

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. – At least three Lee’s Summit students are on ‘out of school suspension’ and missed their Senior Homecoming after a fight that landed one in the hospital.

Parents and students said the violence is the result of bullying not being nipped in the bud months ago. The district is investigating the incident.

Students plan a walk out with signs on Monday in support of a petition with more than 2500 signatures – and Danny Lillis.

Lillis is openly gay.

This year, the senior started wearing make-up and said he started having problems with a group of boys who were bullying him and his friends at school.

“They were just talking about how we’re ugly, how we’re rude,” Carly Vento, senior, said.How we’re all fat.”

“It wasn’t just through words,” Lillis said. “It was more through laughter and actions such as things getting thrown at my lunch table. Mustard got thrown at my friend’s hair that was aimed at my table because of this.”

On Wednesday there was a fight between one of those boys and Lillis’ friend Malani Hohlbaugh.

“My goal was to just get around him, but he noticed I was walking by him,” Hohlbaugh said. “So, he turned into me at the same time I was walking by him. So, it turned into me shoving him.”

“He shoved her back. She then shoved him. Then, he punched her,” Vento said, “That’s when I jumped on him and pulled him to the ground to where he wouldn’t hit her again.”

She had a broken nose.

Malani’s mom, Melanie Davies, said the school never called the parents – citing investigation protocol.

She said the school told her they would only need to make an immediate call if there was a medical emergency.

“If my child was knocked to the ground by a male student and her nose is bleeding and her lip is fat – that is a medical emergency,” Davies said.

The District sent us this statement:

Everyone in the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District community deserves to feel safe and welcome. Harassment or discrimination in LSR7 is strictly prohibited. Although laws protecting students’ privacy prevents us from discussing the specifics of this incident, we can share that school and district administrators are conducting an investigation and taking action to ensure the safety of all students and staff. District administrators will follow Board of Education policies and procedures as we determine next steps. In LSR7, it is a top priority to ensure an inclusive culture where our students, staff members and families are valued and treated with dignity.

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District

Lillis said he brought the student administration, or STAD, several harassment reports.

Mom Missy Lillis even met with the assistant principal to work out a safety plan weeks ago.

“There were at least four to five times that I went to STAD crying for help,” Danny Lillis said.

Danny’s mom was told there would be extra staff on hand in the lunchroom to mitigate ongoing issues.

The day of the fight, students said there were none. One mom told FOX4 the school blamed a breakdown in communication.

“While I’m walking away from it with blood dripping down and no teacher or anyone was there to help other than the students,” Hohlbaugh said.

Parents and students would like to see the zero-tolerance policy for bullying enforced. They said that would have prevented the violence.

“It shouldn’t take an injury,” Missy Lillis said. “What is it going to take – a death – before they say, ‘Oh shoot! Things are getting out of hand.’? Our children should feel safe at school. This is his senior year. He has come so far on his journey. I’m so proud of him.”

Danny wants to show his peers it’s okay to be different – and safety at school is not something that should be in question.

Missy Lillis met with school and district staff Friday to discuss the situation.

They decided to move the group of boys to a different lunch hour, according to Missy and ensured their family that staff would have eyes on Danny throughout the day during every passing period.   

The parents of Vento and Davies have a meeting with school administrators Monday.

Missy Lillis is also meeting with an attorney, who specializes in these types of situations, to discuss safety at school moving forward.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Latest

More News

Digital First

More digital first